When you start any business, there is a set procedure to follow so you can be sure you are opening your business legally. Opening a new business is exciting, but it comes with important tasks and responsibilities to be done.
To start a cleaning business, follow this checklist:
- Write the business plan.
- Finance the business.
- Choose a business structure and apply for business insurance, licenses, and permits.
- Pick the location.
- Gather supplies and equipment.
- Create an advertising plan.
Write the Business Plan
Writing the business plan will not only be used to persuade investors to fund your business, but it will also a roadmap for you to refer to throughout your entire entrepreneurial journey as a cleaning business owner. Think of the business plan as your tactic for winning the war on keeping your business open for more than 5 years and then for more than 10 years. Why these numbers? Many businesses begin closing in higher percentages after being in business for those time periods. Set yourself apart from competitors firstly by writing and executing a polished, professional, and precise business plan.
Follow this checklist in the order presented to complete your cleaning business plan. Remember to answer the questions or touch on the topics listed beneath each key point. Being as thorough as possible in presenting your business plan is important so investors will ask you fewer questions about your execution strategy after they are done reading it.
- Describe your cleaning company.
- What problems your cleaning business solves.
- Your target market.
- The strengths of your business.
- Any competitive advantages over competitors.
- Write a market analysis.
- How is the cleaning business industry doing their business?
- How will your business enter and succeed in the market?
- What are the market trends in the cleaning business industry?
- Determine how your business will be organized and managed.
- Your business legal structure (LLC, S corporation, etc).
- Board of directors (if applicable).
- Management staff.
- Resumes included for the leadership team staff.
- Describe your cleaning business service.
- How it will benefit your customers.
- Process of delivering your service.
- Detail your marketing strategy.
- Social media.
- Mailing campaigns.
- Website marketing.
- Tv/radio advertising.
- Project your sales for over the next five years.
- Income statements.
- Cash flow statements.
- Balance sheets.
- Include graphs and charts to professionally display projections.
- Include a funding request.
- The amount of funds you already have and what sources in which you gathered said funds.
- How much funds you will need.
- How you will use the funds to advance your business.
- Write the executive summary last, but put it as the first section of your business plan. Reread your business plan so you can write about how and why your cleaning business will be successful. Include the following.
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Description of service
- Maid service
- Other specialty cleaning service(s)
- If you have additional documents, include an Appendix (or Appendices) section.
- Licenses and permits
- Credit history
- Picture of your logo
- Pictures of your service
Finance the Business
You cannot run a business without money. But wait! Aren’t we in business to make money? Of course! However, a new business needs startup funds. With all the license fees, equipment costs, building costs, and unforeseen expenses, you need a “nest egg” of startup funds so your cleaning business can launch without any hiccups.
When financing your cleaning business, consider the following sources. Try to consider the low-cost financing options before defaulting to the higher-cost financing options.
- Personal savings
- Extra work hours
- Sell unwanted items in your home
- Place savings in high yield savings account for faster growth on interest
- Family and friends
- Angel investors
- Kick Starter
- Just Giving
- Business credit line
- Bank loans
- Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs
Choose a Business Structure and Apply for Business Insurance, Licenses, & Permits
As investors peruse your business plan and the funds are coming in to finance your startup, use this time to apply for the necessary licenses and permits for your cleaning business. These licenses and permits are necessary to have so that the authorities and the government know that you are operating your business legally.
According to Insureon, follow these steps to reassure that you are fully operating your cleaning business legally.:
- Submit a “Doing Business As (fill in the blank of your business name)” application at your local city government office where you will be operating your cleaning business.
- Visit sba.gov to be sure you are up to date on all the licenses and permits you need based on the state in which you will be doing business.
- After finding that information, complete and submit those necessary forms for your state.
- Apply for license bonds and surety bonds. Your clients will feel a sense of security and trust knowing that your business has these credentials. Ask for more information about obtaining such credentials when you call around to different insurance companies to compare rates.
Use this time to choose a business structure that you think will best suit how you want to run your cleaning business. You will be prepared come tax time with a legal business structure in place so that you are paying the appropriate taxes to the government.
Choose one business structure from the list below. Find out more information on each business structure at sba.gov.
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- C Corporation
- S Corporation
Pick the Location
If you will be operating your cleaning business out of your home on a temporary basis before considering a brick and mortar location, then look below to see the questions you should ask yourself when operating your home-based cleaning business. If you want to open a brick and mortar location now, read below to find out the different types of areas in which you can open your location.
Selecting a proper location is important for the success of your cleaning business. You want to be sure your location is readily seen and has a considerable amount of traffic going past so your business will get the exposure it needs. Consider the following when selecting a location.
If You Want to Work at Home
- Can people come to your home to talk to you in person to get a free quote? Or do you want to meet at a public venue, such as your local library?
- Will you consider signing up for a business cell phone? (You can claim this expense on your taxes.)
- Will you use your own car or your own company van to go to your cleaning gigs?
- If using your own car, how will you track your mileage so you can claim it on your taxes at the end of the year?
- How can you get an affordable company van down the line so you don’t have to worry about separating miles from your personal and work trips in your own car?
If You Want to Open in a Plaza
- What are the rental fees for your potential location?
- What stores are in the local plazas?
- What current stores do you think your target market shops the most?
- What kinds of businesses do you want to be nearby your cleaning business so you can attract your target market?
- Which plaza is the best place you can locate your business so that you can best serve your potential customers?
If You Want to Open in a Business Building with Suites
- What are the costs of using the suite?
- Is the business building in a general area where your target market congregates?
- How big is the business building?
- Will customers have to travel far in the building in order to get to your suite?
- Is there adequate parking?
Gather Supplies & Equipment
As a cleaning business, you need the supplies and equipment necessary in order to satisfy the tasks of every job that comes your way. Ask yourself these questions when you are gathering supplies and equipment for your cleaning business:
- What kinds of cleaning products do you think your customers would want you to use?
- What cleaning companies have green cleaners?
- Can you make your own green cleaner that is unique to your cleaning business?
- Which suppliers will give the best rate for restock when you need more cleaning supplies and equipment?
- How far is the supplier from your business? You want to be sure deliveries arrive on time.
- What is the life cycle of your cleaning equipment?
- How often will you have to replace your equipment?
- Are there longer-lasting options for your equipment needs so that you will save on replacing worn-out or damaged equipment?
Now that you have asked yourself these questions, you are prepared to gather your supplies and equipment. The lists below are based on the type of cleaning company that you plan to operate. A maid service will have a different list than a janitorial service. Even a rug care service has its own special equipment required to successfully serve clients.
Take a look below to find out the general cleaning supplies and equipment you will need based on the type of cleaning company you are going to operate. Since maid services and janitorial services are the top types in the cleaning industry, we will discuss the needs of those businesses below:
- Brooms and dustpans (or Swiffer alternative)
- Mops and mop buckets (or Swiffer alternative)
- All-purpose cleaners
- Dish soap
- Surface specific cleaners
- Oven cleaner
- Bathroom tile cleaner
- Paper towels
- Disinfecting wipes
- Small cleaning caddies
- Trash bags
- Vacuum cleaner
- Commercial brooms
- Commercial mops and mop buckets
- All-purpose cleaners
- Paper towels
- Metal scrapers
- Machine to polish floors
- Trash bags
- Vacuum cleaner
Everything you have done up to this point has gotten your business ready for operating successfully. Now you just need to create a stellar advertising plan that is going to spread the word about your cleaning business and bring in customers. Combine a combination of word of mouth, print media, and social media to achieve the best advertising plan and marketing strategy for your cleaning business. Refer to the list below to refine your advertising plan as needed in every stage of your business.
- Word of mouth
- Talk to people in passing when out running errands
- Keep business cards on you to hand to them
- Social media accounts
- Newspaper and magazine ads
- Television/radio advertising
- Flyers on public bulletins
- Fast food restaurants
- Doctor’s offices
- Grocery stores
- Community day events
- Set up a table for your business
- Have fun cleaning activity stations for kids and adults
- Raffle tickets and prizes
- Business cards, pamphlets, flyers and more for people to take home
- Free memorabilia (pens, stationery, a cleaning spray bottle with your logo on it, etc)
- Leave business cards at small businesses (with permission).
This cleaning business checklist will set you up for success as you journey towards your grand opening day. You have a passion for cleaning, which is why you are starting this business in the first place. Do not lose hope as you face bumps in the road along the way. Be an entrepreneur that rises up strong and slays the dragon that is your fears of operating a startup.
Keep this checklist with you as a resource for revisiting each section as needed. Licenses and permits do need to get renewed. Advertising plans could use some innovation here and there. And your list of equipment and supplies may change if you find brands that are more efficient in their performance or cost less than what you are currently using. Know that every day you put in the hard work of training yourself to become an entrepreneur is another day to thank yourself for your diligence. You will look back on this startup experience one day and smile knowing that you put in so much hard work to get to your current position.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
What are you waiting for? Take a look at our free eBook to start your own cleaning business.